Earlier last week the blog’s email address received an email from a representative over at TheLadders.com, a “comprehensive career resource” site for high-end job seekers. We at Culture War Reporters were graciously told by this representative that we were “perfect” for a project the company was hoping to run, and we were asked if we wouldn be able to provide some tips and hints for recent grads out there seeking work. After some research and discussion with my co-authors, I decided to do just that- so here’s my advice.
Stay the **** away from TheLadders.
When I first read the e-mail, I was intrigued. I went right over to their website to see for myself who these people were and what they were all about, and I immediately recognized ’em as being the kind of company that makes my job a living hell.
See folks, in addition to these delightful little posts on this blog I’m also a “vocational case manager”, which is a fancy way of saying that I help some of the toughest populations out there find employment. In fact, I teach a three week course on how to do just that, and I kick things off by explaining how sites like this are the bane of my existence.
If you’ve been looking for work anytime in the last five years, you probably know what I’m talking about.
Calls from schools, inboxes filled up with spam, promise after broken promise of “hot job leads!”, useless ****ing advice on how you should be maximizing your productivity, “recruitment” for jobs that you neither want nor qualify for. The whole ****y enchilada.
While there’ve always been snake oil salesmen out there, the economic crisis of 2008 and subsequent wave of unemployment gave rise to a host of parasitic sites and pseudo-companies trying to take advantage of folks just looking for some honest work. If anything in the previous paragraph sounds familiar, chances are you’re know this all too well. And in spite of their flashy website, TheLadders strikes me as being among this wretched lot, if not worse. Plenty of scam-sites simply make their money off of phishing for your information- TheLadders, on the other hand, actually charges you a monthly fee.
$25 bucks a month for “premium membership”.
Yeah, you’re out of work, increasingly desperate, and these guys expect you to pay them to deliver…
….Well, exactly what they deliver seems a matter of contention. Plenty of their dissatisfied (“enraged” might be a better word) former-subscribers have listed off horror-story upon horror-story of their experiences with this company. One Yelp reviewer reports:
“I sent a resume in for a [sic] positon I am almost over qualified for, emailed an HR recruiter I worked with (one who oddly enough, was fired from the job we worked together at), not even a response from him. Never got a response for anybody. Incredibly unprofessional. They are staffed with gym teacher equivalents of HR recruiters. A total marketing mirage. Do not bother with any of their job ads. It is a waste of energy. I suspect the jobs do not even exist.”
Granted, you’re probably thinking “But Gordon, you adamantine aegis of the common man, that’s Yelp- are you really going to trust that?”
I don’t put too much stock in Yelp reviews, that’s true, but the complaints given here are eerily similar to those of other disillusioned customers. One cites that she applied through TheLadders for a job advertised as paying a 100,000 dollar salary, only to be told by the company that the pay was actually 50,000 dollars. After the client complained to TheLadders, she was allegedly told:
“…we make no claims that all of our jobs are submitted directly to us.”
If I’m not grievously mistaken, that’s a way of saying “We found a job on someone else’s site and made a wildly inaccurate guess as to what the pay was.” That statement seems to be bolstered further by comments not only from subscribers but from employers as well- one reporting that she had been contacted by a representative from TheLadders who had urged her to pay to post her company’s open positions on their website. In spite of the employer’s repeated refusals, she claimed that the positions “wound up on TheLadders anyway, in spite of her refusal to post them.” After complaining, the employer reports TheLadders simply did the exact same thing a few weeks later.
And again, lest anyone be tempted to imagine these are isolated incidents, we have ex-customer after ex-customer voicing their indignation. Some customers even report being “pressured” into paying to have their resumes critiqued. How much did that cost? According to one commenter (see previous source), “$695″.
Now readers, I’ve written resumes for my clients well into the triple digits at this point. I took the time to look at the resume examples provided by TheLadders, and let me offer my own opinion:
I would not wipe my ass with one.
Much less have the almighty gall to charge over a month’s rent for that crap.
And it’s not just the fleeced masses raising hue-and-cry here. Slate likewise has provided a decently damning article on how pointless the service seems to be. Fortunately, TheLadders isn’t getting away with it entirely. In 2013, a class-action lawsuit was brought against the company with the complaint the the site had
“From its inception until September, 2011, TheLadders scammed its customers into paying for its job board service by misrepresenting itself to be ‘a premium job site for only $100k+ jobs, and only $100k+ talent.’ In fact, TheLadders sold access to purported ‘$100k+’ job listings that (1) did not exist, (2) did not pay $100k+, and/or (3) were not authorized to be posted on TheLadders by the employers.”
While TheLadders has attempted to fight this, their appeal to dismiss was rejected by the court in March of last year, meaning that their accusers may yet find justice (and may it be swift and devastating).
Still folks, this garbage gets me like nothing else. I work every day with people just trying to make a better life for themselves. Not too long ago, I was in the exact same position, struggling just to find a job I could survive on. And I, like many folks, got suckered in by soulless sleazebags trying to take advantage of my desperation and anxiety.
To the bottom-feeders over at TheLadders, I sincerely hope that you find yourselves in the position of your clients:
Out of jobs and out of luck.